I've been off the radar for a few weeks, but there's a half decent reason for that. I quit one job, moved country and then started a new job. It's been fairly hectic, but then stepping outside your comfort zone always will be. I'm in a whole new world, and it's proven to be a challenging and exciting adventure... for the most part.
For those who don't know, I used to live in Australia where I worked in a bottle'o (for you Seppos, that's Aussie slang for "Liquor Store"). It was a decent enough gig but I was always going to move onto something else once Days Too Dark had been published. While originally I had planned on joining the Australian Army as an officer, part way through my application I busted my back and ruined any chance of that happening. So, to steal a line from Fallout: Tactics - I squared my shoulders and set myself to the task ahead.
I arrived at TESOL! An ex-girlfriend had suggested I charge her friends money for conversing with them because they'd be willing to pay stupid amounts of money to improve their language skills. While my relationship with her didn't last (wonder why?) the idea for a career path did grow into something more concrete and lasting. I started a teaching course and after several months, and another girlfriend-turned-ex, I have found myself in Taiwan.
The initial two weeks of training was interesting. 53 people from a bunch of different English-speaking countries all thrown together and forced to be with one another 24/7 proved to be... a little volatile at times. Not to mention the massive age difference between the different applicants. Being someone in their early 30's, I found myself having to rouse on some of the younger and more reckless applicants. They may have resented me for taking on the role of big brother, but if you're going to be in a country where you don't look like 97% of the population it really doesn't pay to get shit faced and run around the streets, humping inanimate objects and screaming the name of the company that just hired you. College is over, grow the fuck up.
I was also forced to room with a guy who should have been quarantined because he had Strep-Throat. Luckily I didn't get it, but I did get some crazy cold that felt like nothing I've ever had before. Foreign land, foreign bugs.
It's all good though, most of us got through the training and we've all been scattered about the island to our various branches. Most of us made some friends from the original group, but I suspect that for the most part the majority of the group will fade into memory. Some of us are here to explore the island and culture of Taiwan, others are here for teaching experience. Some will stay for just a year, if that, while others will likely stay for longer.
Taiwan is great, the food is to die for and the people here are pretty damn awesome. For me, the thing that stands out the most is that fact that the whole island has this amazing dystopian/post-apocalyptic aesthetic to it. I know, I know - what're the chances that a guy who has a blog about post-apocalyptic fiction would end up in a place that totally meshes with his tastes? Well, if you've seen some of the pictures I've been sharing you'll see that it's not joke.
Because Taiwan is in the tropics/sub-tropics, the buildings are going to get damaged by the environment no matter what the locals do. So, from what I've heard they just decided to abandon all hope of maintaining the exterior of buildings and instead focus on the interior. So you get these building that look really run down and dilapidated on the outside, but you walk inside and they're clean, fully functional and modern. It's a total mindfuck.
Along with this, in an effort to reduce the effects of the heat and humidity, there are trees and plants all over the place. People have trees on their roofs and little bushes growing where ever they can squeeze them in. The drop in temperature you get when you walk under the shade of a tree here is amazing and as a guy who is both large and covered in hair, I will take advantage of the shade whenever I get the chance.
Oh yeah, speaking of body hair. On my first day I was walking around this memorial shrine when some random Taiwanese woman walked up to me and called me a monkey several times. Considering both previously mentioned ex's had called me a monkey at one point or another, I didn't think much of it. Kind of funny though.
Anyway, I'm here for the next year (at least) and I'll be teaching English to little kids as a day job. I'm still going to be writing, it's what I was born to do, it's just that the day job that I use to facilitate that writing is in the northern hemisphere. And honestly, teaching English is more in line with writing anyway, at least I'm working with the language as opposed to selling alcohol to people.
Fuuuuuuck I am so glad to be out of that job, you have no idea.
I've laid out an intense writing schedule for the next year, I hope to get a few projects done. I don't know if I'll make it or not, but I'll give it my best. I've got one book that's about to be announced, more on that later, and then a stand alone followed by a 5 part series. I'm pretty excited to bring all of these projects to life.
But enough of that, a whole new world awaits!